Predators hand out season awards

Submitted Photo by Mike Horn. Mason Hawkes (left) is presented with the Predators MVP Award by head coach Lucas Wells.

Even after winning the PGLL title, the Prince Albert Predators still had hardware to hand out during the team’s awards banquet on Tuesday night at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.

Headlining the awards was Preds goaltender Mason Hawkes who took home the Most Valuable Player honors after leading Prince Albert to an overall record of 13-1-1 throughout the season. Hawkes also finished as the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) playoff MVP.

“It’s pretty nice to win and get some recognition.” Hawkes said about his playoff MVP honor. “Honestly winning that kind of also helps with how well our D played in the Regina game. They kept a lot of the shots outside and even in the Swift game they kept them outside, which helps me. And the only thing Swift really had was all their fast break goals.”

The Predators faced plenty of adversity in the PGLL final against Swift Current, trailing by two goals with less than two minutes to play and coming back to win 12-11 in overtime.

Hawkes said the team faced adversity head on all season long and it paid off in the final.

“It was good because we were able to face it. Last year, every time we really had adversity, we kind of just folded the tent, whereas this year we were able to play against it and keep playing through it. And it was nice to see.”

Hayden Ulriksen earned offensive player of the year honors for Prince Albert recording 33 goals and 18 assists in 14 games.

Ulriksen’s most important goal of the season would come with just eight seconds remaining in the third period. A turnover forced by Tyler Gusdal would end up on Ulriksen’s stick and he would make no mistake finding the back of the net to tie the game at 10-10 and force overtime.

Ulriksen says he didn’t even register the face he had tied the game at first.

“The ball bounced off the boards and it came into my stick. And when I saw it in front of the net, I honestly blacked out. I don’t remember what happened. All the boys were around me cheering and the fans were going crazy. I knew that something good happened.”

The championship win was redemption for the Predators as they lost in the championship game in 2022 to the Saskatoon Jr. Swat 13-7.

With three graduating players (Kieron Hoko, Chase Netmaker and Tyler Gusdal), Ulriksen says it was the perfect way for them to end their Predators careers on top.

“We got three guys that aren’t going to put on a Preds jersey again. I don’t think it could have finished any better for them. They told me that that was a sweet finish for them and they’re glad that that one of the craziest games that we’ve all ever been in was their last one.”

Full list of Predator team awards

Most Valuable Player: Mason Hawkes

Rookie of the Year: Brayden Rieger

Offensive Player of the Year: Hayden Ulriksen

Defensive Player of the Year: Davin Ikert

Most Improved Player (Offense): Talon Sandry

Most Improved Player (Defense: Zach Lysitza

Loose Ball Award: Davin Ikert

Humanitarian Award: Tayt Beaven